Vancouver Canucks, Collin Delia

Canucks, How Opportunity Knocks Again

Canucks Near Benchmark

By virtue of what was the madness of their come-from-behind 7-6 overtime victory against the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night, the Vancouver Canucks find themselves with the opportunity to reach .500 in the standings on Wednesday night in San Jose.

The Sharks are consistently vulnerable. In other words, if the Canucks are viable as a playoff threat, this is a moment they can’t let pass by. Vancouver already defeated 8-16-and-4 San Jose on the road on November 27th in overtime 4-3.

There are questions marks, and they begin in net. Does Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau come back with de facto number-one goalie Spencer Martin, who gave up four goals on eight shots and was pulled against the Habs, or with his replacement Collin Delia, who ended up getting the victory in the game.

“It has to be a little different, he (Martin) didn’t have it,” Boudreau said postgame. “I was thinking about it (pulling him) after the third goal, but I was saying ‘let’s just make it to (to the end of the period)’ … you don’t like to pull a guy if you don’t have to, in front of everybody, but once the fourth goal goes in, I thought he looked like he was defeated, so I wanted to get him out of there to spare anymore, there was still time on the clock.”

It was Martin’s 21st career NHL game. Delia ended up getting the unlikely victory in relief in his 33rd career NHL contest and his first ever as a Canuck.

“It is hockey so you just have to be prepared for anything,” Delia said postgame. “You definitely don’t draw it up like that, but there’s great parody in this league, it’s the age of offence, so there’s going to be scoring in these games. You just try to keep the puck out of the net, mitigate chances as best we can.”

“I thought he played good, there wasn’t much he could do on either of the goals,” Boudreau said. “He looked a little nervous at the beginning, I thought he settled down, he didn’t let them get ahead of us anymore. When they had four, he let us come back without them getting any.”

Montreal ended up taking a 6-5 lead with three minutes remaining in the game when a puck deflected in off Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes’s skate. Delia was undaunted.

“Those are all external moments and I think our job as goaltenders is to internalize that, to be kind of stoic for the guys” Delia added. “Not ride that emotional roller coaster, kind of be removed from it in some ways, but I just tried to make saves the best I could and … we won.”

— Elias Pettersson was first star in the game with a goal and two assists in 19:13 of ice time while Conor Garland snapped a 17-game goal scoring drought with his 4th goal of the season. Hughes had an assist and led the team in ice time at 24:42.

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.